Performed a system restore? Your files are not lost.
Windows hides files after system restore.
For those who don’t want to read the whole story:
Windows 7 (at least the 64 bit version) seems to hide your files after a system restore.
I am not sure what causes this behavior and if it even happens every time or just occasionally, but I do know that is what happened to me and I figure it will help at least one other poor soul.
Now on to the story:
Last week my sister came to me with an issue of some annoying malware causing popups on her Windows 7 x64 laptop. I usually prefer to get rid of things like this with an appropriate anti-virus or other quality solution, but in this case as I sat down to review the issue plaguing her system, the virus restarted the machine. I knew it was hooking up a rootkit or some other nastiness, so I had to move before windows restarted. I don’t usually opt for system restore to remove viruses, but in this case I figured it would give me a little more time if I undid what it did and then proceed.
So I chose to hold F8 and go into safe mode to prevent the virus hooking its fangs too deep. I opted to system restore to about a week before to where my sister indicated there were no issues. I assured her that system restore wouldn’t delete her files.
As it turns out, Windows did its best to make a liar out of me. At first glance into My Documents, all of her files – pictures, videos, word docs, everything – were gone. Now I knew this just couldn’t be so I did some quick Googling and found a few people saying that Windows will move the files into the admin user’s documents because system restore operates as admin. Well this kind of made sense, so I took a look. Nay. There were no docs to be found on the whole drive. Did several advanced searches for *.jpg expecting to find at least a hint of where they went, but to no avail.
To make a long and annoying story somewhat shorter, I ended up switching the folder options over to show hidden files and damned if the files weren’t exactly where they were initially, just hidden!
So I hope my rant helps someone. Best of luck to you.